About the Match
After wrapping the ODI series 2-1, the visitors turn their attention to the longest version of the game with the first test starting on Thursday, 20th October at Zohur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium, Chittagong. England already has played many tests in past eight weeks on Asian soil with this going to be their sixth. On the contrary, Bangladesh will be coming to the longest format of the game after a gap of 27 games of white-ball cricket. Bangladesh had an excellent record with the white ball cricket in between, winning 14 out of those 27 games, and would love to carry on the momentum. England, on the other hand, had a mixed bag as they drew their last test series against Pakistan in UAE. As it happened in ODI series, both teams look evenly matched and it can turn out to be a mouth-watering encounter once again.
Mominul Haque would be key for Bangladesh as he has been a prolific run scorer in recent past. In his career of 17 games, he has already amassed over fourteen hundred runs at an average of over 56 which includes four centuries and three of which were scored on this very ground. Shakib al Hasan with his wily left-arm orthodox and his superb batting skills remains to be a thread, especially in these conditions. Mushfiqur Rahim, too, is an experienced player and England will certainly be wary of him.
As far as recent encounters are concerned, England had the upper hand in previous five encounters and ended up winning all of those. However, those encounters were way back in 2010 and teams have changed significantly since then. Overall, Bangladesh looks like a settled unit but would have to focus on staying on the wicket and if they are successful in doing so, they can certainly ask a few questions.
Alastair Cook will return to lead the side after the birth of his second child. His return will definitely boost English batting which displayed some shakiness in the ODI series. Joe Root, too will make a return to the squad along with Gary Ballance. The selectors will face a tough choice when selecting spinners as they would have to choose between 39-year old Gareth Batty who had a great run in county season and young Zafar Ansari who too has displayed skills in the domestic circuit.
Having won the ODI series would have given a lot of confidence to the tourists and they'll be looking to take it to the Tests as well. Their bowling, too, will be strengthened by the return of Stuart Broad who will provide the bowling with much-needed experience. Overall, the visitors have a strong squad who did well against Pakistan in their recently concluded series and can give a run for their money to the hosts.
On paper and previous records, England looks a pretty balanced side. Bangladesh has however punched above their weight and would be a tough side to contend with. Looking at the team on-paper and overall form, I'd place my money on the tourists.